The Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission has decided to convert moderate-priced rental units in two Montgomery Village subdivisions to cooperative ownership, a commission spokesman said.
Details haven't yet been worked out, but commission spokesman Tad Baldwin said that 28 moderate-priced rental units at the McKendree subdivision and 42 at McCrory will be converted to co-ops by next June.
The county requires developers who plan to build more than 50 units in a subdivision to set aside 15 percent of them for moderate-income residents.
Of that 15 percent the country's Housing Opportunities Commission has the right to purchase one-third to rent or sell to low-income families. The other two-thirds are sold directly to moderate-income buyers by the developer. In exchange for setting aside the units, the developer is allowed to build 20 percent more homes than the zoning normally allows.
However, community problems developed recently when homeowners complained that renters didn't maintain their property well, were noisy and harassed their neighbors.
Details of the conversion are still being worked out, said commission spokesman Tad Baldwin. But basically, the renters can buy cooperatives or move to county-sponsored units elsewhere, he said.
"It will make people feel more like owners and get rid of the myth that there's a great deal of difference between owners and renters," Baldwin said.
He said all 42 rental units at the McCrory subdivision of Montgomery Village, where most of the complaints about renters have been aired, and 28 in the McKendree subdivision of the same development will be converted to co-ops by next June. Also converted will be 16 units at the Watkins Mill development adjacent to Montgomery Village.
The county is still seeking permanent financing for the project and must receive informal approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of special subsidies, Baldwin said.
The moderate-priced unit requirement has led to the sale or rental of 937 units in the country. Builders have contracts to build another 877 and are planning an additional 2,800 units.
Under the program, families earning up to $30,000 a year can qualify to buy homes for about $50,000 in subdivisions where prices are much higher. Nearly all of the moderate-priced units are town houses similar in appearance to those around them.